Ellen O’Brien died Oct. 30, 2013, in Colorado Springs at the age of 91. She taught art at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and schools including Colorado College, where she was a block visitor in the art department from 1972-1979. Born in Allegany, N.Y., in 1922, she earned a bachelor’s degree from Cornell and a master of fine arts degree from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan. She studied painting and lithography at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center School before spending four years in Paris, where she worked in the studio of painter and filmmaker Fernand Léger, a pioneering Cubist. After returning to Colorado Springs in 1951, O’Brien helped found the Colorado Springs Art Guild. Her paintings and prints were featured in a retrospective, “Ellen O’Brien: The Prevalence of Line,” at the Fine Arts Center from Dec. 14, 2013-March 16, 2014. A memorial service was held at All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in Colorado Springs on Dec. 14 and attendees were invited to tour the art exhibit afterwards. She was preceded in death by her husband, Vincent, and is survived by three sons and a grandson, all of whom live in Colorado Springs.
Laura K. Padilla, assistant professor of English, died at age 39 on March 16, 2014, after an 11-year battle with cancer. The New Mexico native joined CC as a Riley Scholar-in-Residence in 2006 and became an assistant professor one year later. She taught in CC’s Race and Ethnic Studies and Southwest Studies programs and was a member of the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies. At the time of her death, Padilla was writing “Land of Enchantment, Land of Mi Chante,” a book about New Mexico’s culture based on her doctoral dissertation at the University of Texas at Austin. “Laura’s light and soulful presence will be deeply missed,” chaplain Bruce Coriell wrote in a campus-wide announcement. She was remembered as a rigorous yet patient teacher. Padilla is survived by her husband, Peter Haney, who taught in the First Year Experience program and worked at CC’s Writing Center; her parents, Eligio and Kathleen Padilla; three sisters; and an extended family, mostly in New Mexico. An on-campus memorial was being planned at press time.